Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Wobbly Washing Machines

A landlord asked us to attend one of his properties last week. The tenants had reported that their newly installed under counter washing machine was vibrating violently when it reached the spin cycle. The shaking was so violent that the downstairs neighbours had complained that a picture had fallen off their wall as a result.

New washing machines almost all arrive with long bolts, called transit brackets, which secure the drum in place during transit and delivery. They normally have big orange or yellow arrows pointing at them telling the installer to remove them when fitting the machine. You'll be surprised how many experienced installers forget this vital step. The result of not removing the transit brackets is obvious when you try and run the machine for the first time. The machine attempts to shake the transit brackets loose itself by bouncing across the room.

So when the landlord described the problem, we thought we knew the answer straight away. The installer (not Silver Saints) had left the transit brackets in. But alas, when our handyman arrived and inspected the machine he found that the transit brackets had been removed and the violent shaking was as a result of something else.

On further investigation it became clear that the problem was been caused by the fact that the washing machine was resting on top of floorboards which were not level or very stiff. This meant that the washing machine was constantly fighting against the eccentric forces caused by the weight of the spinning load of washing. The reasons a washing machine should be level are the same reasons your car wheels need to be balanced. Out of balance centrifugal forces cause vibrations. (Read more about cetrifugal forces)

The cure to this particular problem was to fit a piece of 18mm ply wood across the floorboards as a stable surface for the washing machine to sit on. The handyman then spent some time adjusting the feet of the machine to make sure it was perfectly level. He then attached the feet of the machine to the ply wood with screws drilled through each foot of the machine (this particular machine did have pre-drilled holes in each foot for this purpose, however I'm not sure if all machines have these)

The end result spoke for itself. Amazed tenants watched on as the machine smoothly went through it's spin cycle. A very satisfying job all round.

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